Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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The zen of snow blowing

Early morning light shows promise.

Last night we got five or six inches of fluffy snow. Early in the morning, taking Katie out for her first foray into the yard I noticed, even in the dark, how beautiful everything looked. With no wind, and the sun just beginning to edge up into the sky, I could tell it was going to be a great day for blowing out the driveway.

What you say? No one enjoys snow removal?

Well, on a pretty morning, under bluing skies, with fluffy white poofs of snow hanging on the spruce trees and white birch glowing, being outside for any reason is just about perfect.

It’s going to be a pretty day!

And blowing snow out of the driveway is sort of peaceful. There’s a rhythm to it, up and down, back and forth. Mindful more than mindless, as I try not to spray snow and perhaps stones on my husband’s truck parked in front of the house.

There’s a beginning, a middle and an end which lends itself to a sense of order. You can see progress. You can get as creative or as efficient as you want. Sometimes creative is efficient.

The first run down the driveway determines all the rest.

So I cleaned up the driveway, and then, since I was already dressed for it, Katie and I went out to explore the back yard.

Hurry up mama!

We had a great time running around and looking for pretty stuff. Five inches of snow is the perfect amount for a sheltie to bury her head searching for treasure.

It’s right HERE mama!

I always wonder what she thinks she’s going to find under there. Apparently it’s something wonderful.

Darn, I was THIS close to finding it!

The yard was so pretty it was hard to go back inside.

Snow piled up on everything.

But Katie felt that since she had posed for me several times and since I hadn’t thought to bring any treats outside with me, well, we should probably head back to the house.

Race you!

So we did, but not without one last look back at the yard, dressed in it’s winter finery.

Sooooo pretty!

Almost makes staying north all winter worth it.

Typical winter in Michigan.

Almost.

We’ll come out to play again today sweetie.


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Valentine greetings

Katie here. I know some of you are at work today, others are shoveling out from the latest snowstorm. And a few of you are planning fun things to do with your Valentine later on tonight.

I figured you all could use a Valentine Smile so this week I’m doing mama’s Smile post.

My gift to all of you – a picture of me!

Happy Valentines Day everybody! I’m pretty sure you’re all smiling now!

And to my honey, Mr Reilly, down in Florida, I’m sending you special sheltie kisses sweetie!

Me, Reilly and his brother Denny.


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How much fun can a girl squish into a sunny day?

Katie here!

Hey, hey, hey, hey!!!!! Guess what? I am bored! For the last two years mama has taken me to warmer places to visit friends (and my beloved Reilly the Cowspot Dog) and to race around on the beach and hang out at my lake house and stuff.

Me, my boyfriend Reilly and his little brother Denny at the beach in Florida a couple years ago!

This year? Nothing.

Plus here in Michigan it’s been snowing and raining and sometimes it’s so cold I have to wear the dreaded booties! There’s hardly any time when it isn’t just yucky outside, and you know how important being outside is to me.

Before I got to explore mama made me sit for this picture.

Outside is my favorite place to be bar none. Well. Except when I’m in front of my full supper dish, then that’s my favorite place to be. But other than supper there’s no better place for this sheltie girl to hang out than outside with it’s wonderful smells and cool breeze.

I liked this bridge but mama said the shadows made it hard to photograph.

And sun. I haven’t seen the sun in a million years. Oh wait. We had one day last week when it stopped snowing and raining and freezing and the sun came out! Mama said we had to get cracking because we didn’t want to waste a single second of it!

Just me and my shadow.

So we jumped in my car and we raced to one of my parks. I don’t go to this one very often, it’s sort of not on the way to anywhere, but mama said we also had to go to a store that was near it, so it all worked out great.

Hey mama, you didn’t forget the treats, did you?

No one was out there, so we took a meander around to see what there was to see. Nothing amazing, but still it was pretty. I had fun mostly because she didn’t take too many pictures, and because I didn’t have to wear those stinking booties, and because she let me sniff stuff while she was busy taking pictures of not me.

Yes, mama, I will sit on this red bench for you. But hurry up, we’re wasting sunshine woman!

Mama already posted a couple of pictures from that walk, but I figured you really needed the sheltie perspective.

Then after we were done with the park mama took me to a store! I got to sniff all over, except for the cat side, cause they had a bunch of cats out in crates to get adopted and she figured I didn’t need to upset them. And she didn’t want to fall in love with a cat.

I agree mama should never fall in love with a cat!

Hey mama! Don’t you think I need a life jacket for next time we go on a boat ride?

I walked up and down the dog food aisles more than once, there were good sniffs there, but mama kept telling me that the food I picked out wasn’t good for me.

This smells especially good mama!

Well duh mama. The food you pick out for you isn’t always healthy either! And no one yanks on your collar and pulls you away! It’s OK for me to just smell the yumminess!

Mama let me walk around the store a long time, but the only thing she bought was some stuff for my arthritis. Yep, I’m an older princess now and I groan a little bit when I lie down at night. Mama already got me some meds to go with my breakfast, but a little something for the evening might be just the ticket.

I like the fox, but mama says I have too many toys already. Silly mama.

She looked at orthopedic beds too, but I wasn’t interested. I thought the fox toy would be more fun. I’m not all that old yet. Though when we finally got home I did fall asleep on my sofa for a long time.

I told mama it was just a power nap.

Still young enough to pose on a stump for my mama!


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Photo challenge: Depth of field

It’s a basic in photography, mastering the depth of field, the part of your photo that will be in focus. It took me years to be able to remember how to do this.

It finally clicked; the lower the Fstop (aperture) number the narrower the depth of field, which creates that wonderful blurry background we all love so much.

In this particular shot I found out that an aperture set at 4 (the lowest this lens will go) was just a little too narrow, I couldn’t get enough of the apple in front in focus for my taste. Going up to 4.5 did the trick for me.

You can find other examples of a narrow depth of field at the original post linked above, or you can see a couple of my favorites here and here.


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Weather swings through Michigan

Morning light.


February weather in Michigan is always unpredictable. Though it’s a short month it can often feel like the longest month of the year. This week we’ve gone from the Polar Vortex to temperatures in the 50s, from shoveling snow to flooded yards.

One morning Katie got me up early and I thought the light outside seemed an odd color. I was right. The sun was coming up and the low lying clouds were a color I’d never seen before.

Looks like some weather blowing in.

And that day, as I watched the sky get more and more interesting, I knew I needed to get somewhere with open spaces.

Early afternoon and the clouds start to break.

So I drove to Indian Springs, a park not too far away, with trails that wander over hills covered in tall grasses.

A dramatic sky always gets my heart rate going.

I should have worn boots because the trail was muddy, but wet feet didn’t dampen my enthusiasm for the sky that day.

And then yesterday we woke to ice. Rain fell on the cold ground and froze. Katie and I skated (figuritively) out to see what was what. We escaped the worst of it, but there was still a thin coating of ice on everything.

I loved the ice on the red twig dogwood shrubs.

It was all beautiful and Katie enjoyed wandering while I was busy getting shots of twigs and needles and leaves covered in ice.

Still lots of color even in winter.

She was content as long as I promised at least one shot of her. She is, after all, a princess, and used to being the center of attention.

I’ll sit for one portrait mama. But there are things I need to sniff, so hurry up.


I don’t know what the weather has in store for us the rest of the week, but I hope it’s just as photogenic as these past few days have been.

Winter shapes.

Katie says she’s up for an adventure.

Ice dripping.


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Photo Challenge: Contrasting colors

Most of you are aware of the color wheel, and that contrasting colors, opposite each other on that wheel, ‘go together.’ You know, blue and orange, yellow and purple, red and green.

Red and green? What could that be, for me, except barns!

I had several in my archives, red barns with green roofs, red barns in green fields. And then I found this one.

Red and green, and it’s not Christmas!

A red truck next to a red barn under a green tree.

Perfect.

Red barn, green roof.


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Can’t help but smile

Trent hosts a weekly post soliciting smiles. Since I believe we could all use a smile, I try to participate. This past week I’ve had lots and lots to smile about, much of which’ve blogged about and includes a cold Great Lake and snow and ice.

Can you see the birds hidden among all that fruit?

But this morning back at home the dog wanted to go out, a much less glamorous event than shooting a lighthouse glowing in the morning light. Plus it’s cold here, 10 F (-12.22 C) with a brisk wind. I wasn’t eager to traipse around in the yard.

I usually catch their yellow bellies, or the red tips to their wings…

After I bundled up we headed out to do her job. I was urging her to hurry, she was dawdling as usual. Then I heard it. The sound of a bunch of birds somewhere behind me.

I turned my head and saw a flash of yellow in our crab-apple tree. And a distinctive shape.

…but for me the defining bit of a cedar waxwing is the yellow strip along the tail. (Thank you Mr. Waxwing for showing us your colors!)

I grabbed the dog up in my arms and ran for the house and my camera. I had to change lenses. The dog was mystified. Racing back outside I told the dog to “STAY!” on the porch and I crept closer to the tree.

See the red tips at the end of the wings?

I was in such a hurry I didn’t consider my depth of field, and I have many blurry shots of nothing in particular. And even the ‘good’ images aren’t sharp, but the slightly blurry edges adds to the magic of the moment. Or so I’m telling myself.

Hungry in this cold weather, they stopped on their travels to visit my buffet.

Cedar waxwings fly through here as they migrate. I only see them once or twice a year, if at all, and those times it’s only a singular event. They don’t hang around. If the dog hadn’t decided she wanted to go out, if she had continued her nap, I never would have seen these.

So…that’s what made me smile today!

Hard to see even when I crop the image!